Fiction, Monologues, Plays & More
Sleep is for the weak.
Sleep is for prey.
So says the black dog who lives at the edge of my vision.
He is a dire wolfhound, as large as a horse, with burning red eyes like coals from the fires of Hell, and a slick coat, blacker than midnight.
He says his name is Metatron, and that his secret name is Enoch. He says he can tell me this because I am acher, I am other. I cannot harm him, even with his true name.
He tells me to burn things.
He tells me to kill people. But they’re not really people. They’re impostors, he says. You can tell by their rat faces, by the tentacles that grow out of the back of their heads instead of spider legs, and by the fact that their necks don’t extend and retract, like normal people. He says they are The Unchosen, that they are Anathema, and that they must die.
And he tells me I must never, ever sleep.
I don’t know how long a human can go without sleep. I half-remember reading once (back when I could still read) that the longest anyone had gone without sleep was seventeen days. I also remember reading about something called Fatal Familial Insomnia, which is invariably lethal after six to thirty months without sleep. Pussies. I passed thirty months without sleep a long time ago, and I’m still here.
The Seventeen-Days-Or-Less-Withouters frequently fall into what are known as “microsleeps.” They black out for anywhere from a second to a few minutes, during which they are technically asleep. So I don’t see how that even fucking counts. Awake is a binary state. You’re either awake or you’re not.
The FFI-ers apparently suffer from some mad cow-like prion disease, nibbling little holes in their brains. It is a form of psychosis, and they ultimately die of massive multiple organ failure.
I am perfectly sane. And my organs are in perfect condition, being spun from gold fibers as strong and fine as spider webs and inhabited by nano drones that live in my teeth. The drones instantly repair any problems or damage that might arise from forced interactions with the aspic morass of the physical world.
Metatron says he is an angel, and the voice of God. He says the Anathema are not really people, but demons sent to devour the world. But they can only eat when no one is looking at them, which is why you never see them eating.
Metatron says they are self-conscious about their huge, hideous mouths.
Imagine that. Demons with demons.
When Metatron is angry at me, he barks. But it’s not like a dog bark. There is no sound. Instead, his lips flap out into a large cone, his mandibles split apart diagonally, and great rolling waves of hate lash at my skin and harrow my soul. I often whimper and plead for mercy, but he just sneers at me.
“You sure whine a lot,” he says.
“I don’t like it when you bark at me,” I say.
“What you like is irrelevant. You’ll do as your told. Now shut up and look for the demon.”
I hate looking for prey. Faces no longer have any meaning, and I cannot see them any more. Faces are lies. All I can see now is the murky vapor hiding underneath. Everyone looks the same.
“Everyone looks the same. I can’t tell the demons apart any more.”
“You’ve got an excuse for everything, don’t you? Just keep hunting.”
I move through a sea of faceless faces, hiding in plain sight. Hidden by my otherness.
“There she is,” he says, and I catch sight of a sickly green vapor trailing behind someone with their back to me ahead.
“Please, I’m so tired,” I say, wanting to be free of this terrible burden.
“Just follow her, and do what needs to be done.”
I walk casually, with practiced ease, lingering behind to keep from arousing suspicion. The demon ahead swims through the crowd, oozing pestilence.
Eventually it parts from the herd, perhaps seeking some quite place to make a meal out of some forgotten and disused corner of the city. I wait several long seconds, then follow it into the alley it turned down.
“She’s in here, I can smell her,” says Metatron. “Find her and fulfill your purpose.”
The long stretch of alley has decades of trash and sour milk compressed into its seams, but the demon is not immediately visible. The smell is overwhelming.
“How can you smell anything in this cesspit?” I ask.
“Let me know if you ever come up with a non-stupid question,” he snorts, and sniffs at the pungent night air.
“Down at the end. Behind that dumpster,” he says.
I approach the end of the alley carefully. Rounding the dumpster, I catch sight of the demon hunched over another figure lying on the ground. From the victim’s dress, he must have been a homeless person, but now he is a carcass. Guts and blood mingle with the refuse and mastication sounds emerge from the hunched figure. My foot scrapes on the ground of the alley, and the demon turns to face me.
Its mouth is a gaping black maw, with circular bands of razor sharp teeth lining the cavernous throat layer upon layer. A howl escapes the demon as it sees me, knowing that doom is upon it. A swarm of thick tentacles explode from behind its head to grapple me as I draw my serrated knife and tackle it to the ground.
Tiny hooks in the suckers on the tentacles rend at my flesh as we roll across the filthy alley. They wrap around me to grasp and pull, threatening to rip me apart. Finally, my weapon hand breaks free long enough to plunge my knife into its thick rigid neck over and over. Warmth gushes over my hand and onto my face, baptizing me with the success of my hunt.
Gasping and spent, I lie there for a moment, feeling a growing pool of liquid spread under my back.
“Well done, grasshopper. Well done.”
“Can I sleep now,” I ask, already knowing the answer. “Please,” he sneers. “Sleep is for the good people of the world. And we know how many of those there are, don’t we?”
“None,” I say, treasuring these few moments spent prone.
“That’s right. None. Now get up. We have more work to do. And you need a shower. You smell like shit.”
“Just another minute more,” I say, fighting the lead weights that tug at my eyelids.
Metatron stares daggers into my mind.
“Pussy,” he says.
My eyes snap open. Growling, I stand.
Sean M. Kozma is a writer, sound designer, and audio technician living in Los Angeles, and working in professional theatre. He also works behind the camera on independent films as production manager, assistant director, and line producer. Originally hailing from southeast Michigan, he has worked as a dishwasher, a fry cook, a delivery driver, a taxicab driver, a dispatcher, an engraver, and an office drone. He is currently writing a novel, among other projects.